Labour-run Caerphilly Council has been told to look at alternatives to costly court action over controversial plans for a new waste plant at Cwmfelinfach.
Plans for the new waste treatment facility handling up to 100,000 tonnes of waste annually, were approved by the council’s planning committee nearly six years ago. But campaigners said council officers should have asked Hazrem to carry out an environmental impact assessment before the decision was put to the council’s planning committee and, therefore, the permission is unlawful.
One of the campaigners, Dave Platt wrote to all councillors earlier this month, briefing them on the current position.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group, said: “It is very disappointing that a member of the public has to keep elected members informed in the absence of proper information from council officers. Why do officers want to keep councillors in the dark?
“Mr Dave Platt has offered the council a sensible way out of this impasse on more than one occasion but there seems to be a huge reluctance to even consider his proposals.
“I am concerned that the council is refusing to look at an alternative to the Judicial Review process. The apparent willingness to spend large sums on lawyers reminds me of the massive amounts of money that have been spent on the senior officers’ dispute, probably totalling over £7m by now. That money could have built a much-needed new primary school or even two schools with grant money involved.
“Why is there a reluctance to try to find a sensible way to resolve this flawed planning consent? We need answers now, not after more money has been wasted.”
Councillor Colin Mann said that he would be writing to the council’s Chief Executive Christine Harrhy asking for answers. “This can’t be allowed to go on.”